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An east side community prays for answers after an unsung hero is murdered

The friends and relatives of 60-year-old "Mr. Johnny" Purchase want answers and arrests.

INDIANAPOLIS — A near east side Indianapolis neighborhood is grieving the murder of an unsung hero hailed as a shining light to teenagers headed for trouble.

The friends and relatives of 60-year-old "Mr. Johnny" Purchase also want answers and arrests. 

Scores of friends, relatives, community leaders and police attend Monday's outdoor memorial service.

Balloons carrying messages of love, gratitude and hope soared into a dark sky in memory of Purchase, hailed as a shining light in the troubled neighborhood near 25th Street and Keystone Avenue.

His son Jonathan spoke to the crowd.

"He wouldn't want us to be sad and mopey, but be active, loving, caring and having a good time," Jonathan said.

Credit: Rich Van Wyk
Balloons carrying messages of love, gratitude and hope soared into the sky in memory of Mr. Johnny Purchase.

Purchase invested his time mentoring teenagers in the neighborhood surrounding the Edna Martin Christian Center.

Blanton Bondurant explained his cousin's commitment to area youths. 

"(He) tried to look and see where he could be of some assistance and help youth move forward," Bondurant said. 

Last week, Purchase was shot and killed doing his job. He was knocking on neighborhood doors and passing out flyers promoting area events and programs.

"He was a skylight in this community," Mayor Joe Hogsett told the crowd. He praised Purchase's commitment to youth. 

"Young people who were going toward the darkness and put them on a better path, toward the light," Hogsett said. 

IMPD chief Randal Taylor called Purchase a hero.

"Mr. Johnny went out on a victory, making a difference. He's going to be remembered for that," the chief said.

Credit: Rich Van Wyk

The case is unsolved. The family understandably still grieving and expecting answers. Cherish, the daughter of Purchase, was brief.

"I want justice," she said "It's as simple as I can put it."

Another daughter, Gabby struggled. 

"I miss my daddy," she said. "Thank you."

Friends and relatives led a procession to the scene of the crime and once there, they asked the community and God to provide police the information they need to find Purchase's killer.

"Reach into the hearts of those involved," a pastor prayed.

A community is praying for answers and hoping the legacy of life lost to violence will inspire others to follow. 

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